Second Place and a Band-Aid

Band AidsIt was a gorgeous, 72-degree day. The sun was shining. There was a light breeze. The fact that it was mid-February (and, therefore, supposedly winter) was irrelevant. Spring was making an early appearance—at least temporarily.

“Wow, it’s a beautiful day!” I said to the kids.

“Yeah,” Lindsey responded cheerfully, “it reminds me of field day at public school last year, when I won second place and a Band-Aid.”

I found her comment amusing, and I followed up on it. It turned out that the Band-Aid had been earned during the three-legged race. With her left ankle tied to a friend’s right ankle, Lindsey and her partner had been heading as fast as they could for the finish line. But Lindsey tripped and scraped her knee on the ground. Hence, the trip to the nurse’s office to ask for a Band-Aid.

As I considered the fact that running her race had left a physical mark on Lindsey’s body, I realized something: the same can be said of us moms.

We may not be running an actual race (though chasing after toddlers can sure seem like it), but the marks of our “race” are there nonetheless.

For those of us who have physically borne children, our bodies no longer look the same. We might have stretch marks, a C-section scar, or a little extra flabbiness in places that weren’t always flabby.

Most of us, whether or not we’ve been pregnant or whether we’ve adopted, carry a few more pounds than are strictly necessary. Coming up with the time and inclination to go to the gym when we haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in months is difficult. Not to mention figuring out how to pay for said gym membership, when there are so many other things that have to be paid for first.

Many of us have more gray hairs than when we first became a mom. Not that they’re necessarily caused by our children (well, maybe they are….), but having our hair colored or highlights touched up every six weeks is time-consuming and expensive, especially when there are so many other demands upon our energy and resources.

Then there’s the scar we bear on our forearm near the elbow because hot gravy from the meal we were cooking on the stovetop splattered not only on us, but on our toddler who was standing too near the stove, and we washed our toddler’s skin off first, while the gravy burned into our own.

All of these are not marks of a merely physical event, but of motherhood.

Then there are the laugh lines at the corners of our mouths and the crinkles at the corners of our eyes. None of those were there when we were 20. But now, the joys of motherhood have etched themselves into our facial expressions.

And our tummy, which is “so soft”, as our child so kindly tells us, that used to be much flatter many years ago. But it’s the softness of motherhood.

And our arms, those incredible appendages God has given us that know not only how to do great and strong things, but also now know how to delicately embrace a child who needs love.

Consider our eyes, which see what our child is really saying, what’s really going on in her little heart.

Our ears, which hear silence, and know instinctively that something “not good” is going on.

Our feet, which bear calluses from all the standing and walking we do in taking our child places, in standing at the stove cooking, in pacing the floor in the middle of the night while attempting to soothe a colicky newborn.

Our backs, which sometimes bend beneath the heavy load, but can straighten up in an instant when one of our children is threatened.

Our shoulders, which now carry the weight of our love for our child and of our child’s concerns.

Yes, our bodies are different, whether the marks are visible or invisible.

This is what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he said he bore in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Paul had suffered greatly because of his commitment to and love for the Lord. Yet he was not ashamed. Instead, he wore the marks with honor.

That’s how you and I can bear the changes in our bodies, too. Ladies, we can be so harsh on ourselves, so disparaging toward the perceived imperfections of our flesh. But these marks of motherhood are in reality not imperfections. They, too, are the marks of the Lord Jesus.

He is the one who called us to this precious position of motherhood. Ultimately, even more than we serve our children, we serve Him. So every mark on our bodies, every change that comes about as a result of motherhood, is a change that came about because of following the Lord Jesus’ calling upon our lives.

You may think your body’s not perfect. But it tells a beautiful story.

Be grateful for the story.

Galatians 6:17—From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. (KJV)

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